Some thoughts. It must be mentally taxing to be a nurse working flat out hearing the ward phone constantly ringing out when they can’t physically get to answer it.
The situation is made much worse because of staff shortages.
It does not need a fully qualified nurse to answer the phone and provide families with an update.
Maybe instead of people phoning in , the hospital could get one number from each patient and they could phone out a daily update or if the patient preferred a daily email.
A separate extension number set up for each ward with a message about when the phone would be active would help and maybe have a message function as well.
So who could help with this service? Confidentiality would be essential, but many volunteers already have training in that area , CAB, Magistrates,Witness Protection, Samaritans to name a few. Many retired people have excellent CV’s and time to help. The Hospitals own League of Friends maybe a starting point.
Maybe trial the idea with one ward and see how it works. The ideal would be the same group of people to be attached to the same ward all the time.
Problems, patients move around ward to ward, and how to gather the information to be given out to the families.
Having a close relative in hospital living a good distance away, we have no option but to phone for updates on health & treatment.
Isn’t it better for one person, usually next of kin, to phone the ward & then use group chat on Whatsapp or Messenger as we do, to pass on information. Anyone else calling is only told that the patient is comfortable anyway.
The first day they said on 3 occasions to phone back in 2 hours, the following day was after 12 noon & that is pretty much what we have stuck with. There is a ward clerk there during the week but not weekends & I have noted that the phone takes longer to be answered then. Doctors rounds are usually during the mornings so best to wait until either just before or after lunch when there may be something to report & cause least bother.
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